Meet Daniel Bennett, 31, technical director at the Grand Theatre and artistic producer with Curveball Creative, and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2021 recipients
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF the Grand Theatre and artistic producer with Curveball Creative, a grassroots organization that aims to provide work and exposure for independent artists from diverse backgrounds in London, Daniel Bennett is committed to expanding institutional capacity around representation, equity and inclusion. A collaborative leader who seeks input from everyone in the room, he leads with compassion and empathy and aims to find solutions that not only lead to art that is exacting and impactful, but also reflects the makers who are around the table.
What would you call your biggest business achievement, and why?
I have trouble answering this question as I believe my achievement rests in the artistic merit of the work I create and the impact that it has in the community rather than the traditional markers of business, such as growth. From an artistic perspective, I am most proud of my lighting design for Cabaret at the Grand Theatre. I thought it was artistically rigorous, exciting and was a vital component of the storytelling of that piece. I am also very excited by the work on Room, which opens at the Grand Theatre in March. I think my biggest business achievement, meanwhile, was growing the capacity of Curveball Creative to be able to hire multiple artists at equitable rates.
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Who, or what, has been your biggest influence?
My biggest business influence was my time living in Montreal. Public art and culture are integrated into that city in a way that is unparalleled in the rest of Canada. The vibrancy it brings is palpable and enhances the mental health and well-being of its citizens. The appreciation of culture is also integrated into the residents of Quebec, which is different from other provinces and leads to more funding and the proliferation of high-calibre work that often experiments with form.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a young you?
There is no need to rush; careers are long. Currently, I am more smelling the roses while driving down the highway at 140 kilometres per hour — but the first step to change is acknowledging, right?
Best TV and movies you’ve watched this year?
Although some definite clichés and holes in the plot, Archive 81 was entertaining on TV. Best film was Single All the Way. Loved seeing the gay representation in the Hallmark holiday movie — even with the cringey moments.
And finally, what’s your guilty pleasure?